Out of the night that covers me, Black as the Pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed. Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the Horror of the shade, And yet the menace of the years Finds, and shall find, me unafraid. It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll. I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.

-William Ernest Henley

Photo by Peter Prior


Born in Germany, lived in Japan until age ten, then moved to Iowa. Nothing about Kahlil Ashanti’s life makes sense.

He joined the US Air Force to escape an abused childhood, hoping to become an architect, but this led him to a gig as a performer, dancer and comic with Tops In Blue, an active duty performance troupe tasked by the US State Department to perform in war zones to boost troop morale. Five world tours and many failures later, he was performing six nights a week as a magician in Japanese at Caesar’s Magical Empire, Caesar’s Palace Las Vegas. Then, he took an acting class from Jeffrey Tambor which inspired him to write his one man show called Basic Training. After taking Basic Training around the world and then to Broadway with Hollywood producer Barry Josephson (Men In Black, Bones, Air Force One, Bad Boys, Enchanted), Kahlil moved to Vancouver where he’s now a husband and father.

He often teaches, sharing his entrepreneurial insights and pitching skills at tech incubators like Institute B, GrowLabs and Launch Academy. Kahlil's unique life experiences performing for troops in harms way will serve as the inspiration for a new television series. To find out which one, follow him on Twitter @kahlilashanti. Announcement coming soon.


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